The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Programme addresses a critical missing link for the end of hunger in Africa: the economic empowerment of the most important but least supported food producers on the continent – Africa’s women.
From the beginning, the innovation of microfinance has allowed poor people – usually excluded from the traditional banking system – to obtain credit to develop microenterprises and build savings. Microfinance has become a real means of reducing poverty by improving both people’s standard of living and economic self-sufficiency, as well as offering a pathway to education, health care and equity between men and women.
Across the areas where we work in Africa, well over two million individuals will take microloans from scores of microfinance institutions this year. They will use those loans to start small trade businesses and improve farming techniques for increased crops. The profits they make will in turn serve to feed and send the next generation to school and to receive health care.
Microfinance, it is clear, has done a world of good in Africa. However, if the full promise of microfinance is to be brought to bear on hunger and poverty in Africa, it must take into account a critical issue: the full inclusion of women farmers and entrepreneurs which is why The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Program is women-led, locally owned and fully integrated – it provides an empowering environment for women to participate.
Meet Guiré from Burkina Faso
Before she began participating in the Boulkon Epicentre Microfinance Programme with The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso, Guiré’s restaurant was just a small shop serving rice, soup and beans in the village market.
Since being given a loan of 50,000 West African CFA francs and attending Hunger Project workshops, Guiré has been able to grow her business and become “a great restaurant owner”.
After just one year, Guiré grew her business enough to pay back her original loan and any accrued interest. She hopes to continue expanding her restaurant business and contributing to her family’s health and education.
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